Heroic Conduct Of A Deaf And Dumb Girl
On Tuesday last an inquest was held by Mr. Michael Fullam, Coroner, at
Aughaward, near Ballinale in this County, on the body of a respectable
middle class farmer named James Prunty. It appears the deceased, a
feeble old man of 76 years of age, went into an out-house occupied by
his own bull for the purpose of cleaning it out, and while in the act of
doing so, the bull broke its chain and turned on him. By the
ion of providence, his daughter, a deaf mute, happened to come
that way, and looked into the bull-house, her attention having been
attracted by seeing the door lying open; and there, at the instant her
eyes rested on the interior, she saw her aged father tossed high in the
air above the bull's head; when he fell on the ground the bull gored him
with his horns, pawed him with his feet, and raged with fury. The daring
girl--the poor deaf mute--did not hesitate for an instant, but with most
surprising presence of mind rushed to the rescue. She caught up the old
man's stick which she saw on the floor as she entered, and seizing the
bull by a copper ring in his nose, she thrashed him soundly on the head.
The struggle was terrific--it was one of life and death, both for
herself and the old man who now lay helpless at her feet. The bull did
not tamely submit to his chastisement, but directed his assault on the
lone girl; he tore her from her ankle to her armpit, struck her on the
breast, and dashed her against the wall: but still she clung with a
death grasp to his nose, and belaboured him with the stick, until she
finally conquered and forced the infuriated animal to yield to her
command. She then threw away the stick, and changing the ring into her
right hand, raised the disabled old man from the ground and carried him
on her left arm outside the door, forced back the bull, and closed the
door in his face. Such heroic conduct as this has seldom been manifested
by the bravest of men, but it is almost beyond credence that the deaf
mute who was examined before the jury through an interpreter could have
performed such an extraordinary feat. Yet so it was, and the jurors one
and all were thoroughly satisfied with the clear and intelligible
description of the most minute particulars of the occurrence exhibited
by this most wonderful girl. It is sad to say that after all her
exertions, the poor old man died in an hour after his release from the
bull-house. The jury handed to the coroner the following memorandum at
the close of the proceedings:--
"We cannot separate without putting on record our entire
admiration of the heroic conduct of Bridget Prunty (an orphan
and deaf mute), who, at the risk of her life, relieved her aged
father, James Prunty, from the furious assault of his own bull,
(from the effects of which he died yesterday), by catching him
by a ring in his nose, and while holding him back, carried the
old man on her left arm out of the house in which he was
attacked: and we urgently recommend her to the notice of those
benevolent gentlemen who appreciate and reward such an act of
noble daring for the preservation of human life."
"Given at Aughaward, 22nd Jan., 1878,
BARTHOLOMEW QUINN, Foreman."
(For self and fellows),
"M. FULLAM, Coroner."
We are glad to say that on hearing of the bravery of this little deaf
and dumb girl, Mr. Harman, M.P., at once sent L5, and many other friends
also shewed their appreciation of the girl's conduct in a practical way.
The following touching lines were composed by a Deaf friend after
seeing the account in the "Longford Journal":--
THE BRAVE DEAF MUTE.
The tale of bravery I tell,
Will your attention hold,
Though not performed on battle field,
Nor by a warrior bold.
An Irish girl, to whom the Lord
Nor speech nor hearing gave,
Tho' but a poor deaf mute was she,
Her heart was stout and brave.
Deaf, dumb, yes, poor and motherless,
Friendless and obscure;
Only her father left to her,
And he was old and poor.
A farmer he, and owned a bull,
That in a shed was chained,
For it was savage, but one day
Its liberty obtained.
The poor old man was unaware
The bull had broke its chain,
Until the beast upon him turned
Ere he the door could gain.
The dumb girl neared the open shed,
As she the threshold crossed;
Oh! dreadful sight, her father high
By savage bull was tossed.
She could not hear if help was nigh,
She could not call for aid;
So quick to rescue him she ran,
Too brave to feel afraid.
One hand she slipped within a ring,
That through its nose was placed;
And with her father's stick upraised,
The angry bull she faced.
Oh! then ensued a struggle, fit
To fill her heart with dread;
While at her feet her father lay,
To all appearance dead.
Long and fierce the battle raged
Between the bull and maid;
Nor would she yield, tho' by its horns
Her side was open laid.
Blow after blow upon its head,
With heavy stick she rained,
Until the savage beast was cowed,
And she the victory gained.
And then the stick away she threw,
(But held on as before,)
Her father with one arm she raised,
And slowly neared the door.
Then back into the shed she forced
The bull, and slammed the door,
While in her aching, bleeding arms,
Her father's form she bore.
But, sad to say, her father dear,
Whom thus to save she tried,
Had been so injured by the bull,
In one short hour he died.
An orphan now, alone and poor,
Homeless, and deaf and dumb;
Oh, who will help some christian friends,
To make for her a home?
If you who read these simple lines,
With speech and hearing blest,
And have it in your power to aid
And comfort the distressed,
Oh! think of this brave-hearted girl,
And help her in her need;--
With voice and pen on her behalf
For timely help I plead.